Unveiling Imperialism: Media, Gender and the War on Afghanistan


Stabile, Carol, and Deepa Kumar. 2005. “Unveiling Imperialism: Media, Gender and the War on Afghanistan.” Media, Culture and Society 27 (5): 765-82.

Authors: Carol Stabile, Deepa Kumar


The oppression of Afghan women by fundamentalist groups was barely addressed by the corporate media until it proved rhetorically useful for US elites to argue for military intervention as a means to liberate the women of that country. This article critically interrogates this claim, and analyzes media coverage of Afghan women before and after the US invasion on 7 October 2001. First, we present an overview of conflicts in Afghanistan, focusing on the US’s economic and strategic interests in the region, and its role in supporting and funding Islamic fundamentalism. Attention to this context, absent from media accounts, is essential to understanding the plight of Afghan women in all its complexity. Second, we examine news frameworks and the ways in which Afghan women figure in imperialist agendas in a thoroughly Orientalist manner. Finally, we turn to the outcome of the war and the situation for Afghan women today.

Keywords: imperialism, Afghanistan, Afghan women, media representation, war on terror

Topics: Armed Conflict, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Terrorism, Violence Regions: Americas, North America, Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, United States of America

Year: 2005

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